The next generation at Monaco
Monaco had a superb season last year, winning Ligue 1 and reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League, but in the summer the club cashed in on much of the talent that got them there with Benjamin Mendy, Bernardo Silva, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Kylian Mbappe all moving away from the principality. However, the club has put the focus on young players in recent times and while they are falling behind in Ligue 1 and out of Europe their next generation are getting minutes on the pitch as they attempt to rebuild their team. Join us as Gerry Johnston takes a look at six players who could either stay for the rebuild or be the next to leave for a huge profit.
Lemar is the obvious one and already looked to be on his way in the summer as Barcelona and Arsenal came close to signing the French international. However, the move failed to materialise and he has continued as one of the clubs best players this season albeit with the team performing to a lower standard than they did last season. Lemar, who signed for Monaco from Caen in 2015, has played mostly as a left winger for Monaco this season but he is also capable of playing on the right or just off the striker. With Monaco already out of Europe there's a chance that Lemar could move on in January but if he stays to the summer it is almost certain that he will make the move then.
Toure came through the club's youth team and has been showing a lot of promise at right back. He is still only 21 years old and has been sharing minutes with Djibril Sidibe on the right side of defence but so far this season he has arguably been in better form than his teammate. The Malian has four assists already this season and it will be interesting to see how he develops as the season progresses.
Keita moved to Monaco just before the end of the transfer window ending a long summer of speculation in which the Senegalese forward was linked with various clubs including Italian giants, Juventus. However, Monaco were the team who managed to get the signing over the line and they now have one of the most sought after talents on their books. Keita has been playing in various positions since the move which has perhaps not been a good thing with his time spent between the left wing, right wing and as a centre-forward but he certainly has plenty of talent and once he finds a regular position he will undoubtedly begin to flourish.
Tielemans arrived at Monaco in the summer from Anderlecht and like Keita he is another who has been highly sought after. Despite only being 20 years old he has already made over 200 senior appearances for Anderlecht and Monaco. Tielemans has also been capped by Belgium eight times and although he has been spoken of for a few seasons now his popularity soared as Anderlecht done well in the Europa League last season. Now that he has moved to Monaco it will be interesting to see how he progresses at a higher level and there's no doubt that there will be a lot of big clubs monitoring his development.
The left-back arrived at the club in January from Flamengo in his native Brazil and he has emerged as a more than capable replacement for Mendy. He is still only 21 years old but he has already been capped by Brazil and he looks to be settling well at the club which is showing in his performances. So far this season he has shown himself to be one of Monaco's best players and if he continues at his current level it won't be long before the big clubs come calling.
Lopes is finally getting his chance at Monaco after moving from Manchester City in 2015. Prior to this season he had only made two appearances for the club and had instead been on loan at Lille but he has now broken into the team and has been in impressive form this season. Lopes has been playing primarily as a right winger but he can also play on the left and despite being born in Brazil he has already been capped by Portugal and looks to be one of the next big Monaco stars.